Sick Day Survival

Early this week, Bee fell ill with inexplicable fevers, midnight shrieking she couldn’t shake. Doctor’s visits, a 911 call. Night terrors, it was diagnosed. Common for her age, it was said.

Our instructions: cold compresses to the forehead, a tepid bath, fluids. While water seems a small attempt to rush the wild vacancy from her eyes, I do know this: there’s nothing small about water.

This morning, she felt well enough for toast.

So we’ve been hunkering down on the couch, declaring this the week of the Wild Kratts marathon. Of rest. Scout senses something awry, asks to leave the house, asks to run, asks for me to chase him away under the swingset, out past the sun.

Your sister’s sick, I tell him.
Sad puppy, he says.

Like winter, like a power outage, there is a quiet beauty hidden in the midst of illness, in nature’s ultimate pause button. Huddling up together, rising to the occasion, taking turns logging Motrin dosages and temperature readings. This morning, Bee asks if she can be sick next week, too, chats emphatically about her love for sleeping on the sofa. No, I tell her, but we both know what she means. The togetherness is nice.

Still, I often forget the worst part of a child’s illness, aside from feeling utterly helpless, aside from watching this once lively, wriggling creature roll up into a ball and tremble, aside from the sleepless nights and trickling fears, it is also the sequestering. The aloneness. The quarantine.

We’ve cancelled all plans, haven’t seen a soul in days. Even the introvert is feeling stir-crazy.

A small reminder: we need each other (albeit not whilst contagious).

Other reminders:
1. If trying to distract a rambunctious toddler from hurdling onto a recovering 6-year-old, blow up 100 balloons and send him into the sunroom to kick/bounce/jump on every single one. He’ll return with a hair-full of static, ready for a nap.

2. Get well juice tastes better from a straw.

3. When your voice is hoarse from reading aloud, a storytime podcast works wonders. (I still love the ones mentioned here.)

4.  Two lovely couch reads that pair well with Kratts in the background: Imperfect Courage, Small Great Things.

5. Sometimes, the grocery delivery fee is worth it.


Sending well wishes for a happy weekend to you, friends. May you have health, togetherness and 100 balloons.

  • I remember telling a friend I felt a little guilty for ‘wanting’ my kids to be sick so we could snuggle on the couch for the day. 😬
    And we LOVE the Kratt Brothers! Our son (even at age 10) watches it ALL THE TIME! If you ever get a chance to see them live they do a great interactive show.
    Also- loved SMALL GREAT THINGS. Very tough to read. Just watched THE HELP with my daughter last night and our post-viewing conversations on this topic always center on how hard it is to believe that was our nation and that IS STILL our nation. 😔

    • Oooh, thanks for the Kratt Brothers tip. ;) And I agree – Small Great Things was so beautifully done. I love each of the many character nuances in that one!

  • Another heart warmer❤️Poetic though hectic
    Here’s wishing you Calm 🧘🏻‍♀️in the midst of fevers & jumps; in a few days you will be getting your own groceries and be glad to be outside ( yes even for us introverts)😀

  • Happy, healing thoughts for Bee! Forrest had a very brief, and terrifying, bout of night terrors as a baby still in the crib; I can’t imagine how this feels with one Bee’s age. We do run into the occasional midnight-crying-from-growing-pains around here, but still. Hugs for you all. BRILLIANT idea on the balloons – I may use that with Forrest someday soon.

    • Oh gosh — night terrors as a baby? That is so so so scary! We’d never encountered anything like this, but now we know what it looks like so we’re (somewhat?) prepared if it creeps in again. And yes to the balloons! Longest/cheapest entertainment for desperate times. :)

  • Oh Erin. So beautifully written as usual. As a mama with way too much experience with night terrors I’m sending you virtual hugs. My girl has had then since about 18 months…they come and go but had gotten worse in the past few months. I thought we’d be past this phase by now but with 6 just days away I’m starting to feel like they are just part of our life. We have however recently discovered Zarbees melatonin and it’s been a lifesaver for us so far.

    • Oh Anissa — I can’t imagine! It is so so terrifying, isn’t it? And you feel so helpless. Thank you so much for the Zarbees melatonin tip! Definitely going to add it to our arsenal.

      Biggest hugs your way!

  • Thank you Erin. So beautifully written as usual. I’m in my hometown caring for my very sick dad. It’s a hard journey, but am so grateful for your reminder of seeing beauty in the tough and difficult times.
    There is a peace that surpasses all understanding.
    Many blessings to you and your family.

    • Lori, I’m so sorry. Thinking of you this morning, and while I know it must be tremendously hard, I’m so grateful you can care for your father with such commitment. Sending love your way.

  • Hope she is feeling better and you all have had a chance to enjoy the summer days! Good tips for entertaining little brother when his main source of entertainment is out of commission! Love, Library Lady

  • We were home two weeks ago with HFMD and this is such a lovely reflection on that time, we need each other. Thank you thank you, beautiful expressed as always.

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